Govt taking timely measures to protect steel industry: Steel Minister

Mahindra Intertrade & MSTC signed a JV for the first auto-shredding plant.

The Dollar Business Bureau

The government is taking timely measures to provide a conducive environment for steel industry by enhancing protection from dumping, cheap-quality imports and unfair trade practices, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

“However, the steel industry needs to further improve its productivity and cost-competitiveness. In long term, that is going to provide a stable growth,” said Chaudhary Birender Singh, Minister of Steel.

Creating a future roadmap for the steel sector, Singh said Mahindra Intertrade Limited and MSTC Limited have signed a joint venture agreement for the country’s first auto-shredding plant on Tuesday.

“This will be a revolutionary step in sustainable development as it aims to recycle waste in a cost-effective manner by preserving the inherent value. This can pave the way for establishing small steel plants near the consuming regions of the country, as raw material will be provided by such shredding plants, which can be aggregated into recycling clusters or zones,” Singh said.

The minister underscored that the industry should focus more on research and development at a time when the country’s steel sector had had some challenging days in the past. However, pro-developmental initiatives such as these would secure the industry against any future slowdown.
“Our government had set up Steel Research and Technology Mission of India and we want to make R&D the prime focus area for the future roadmap of steel industry. We can use R&D for import substitution, new product development and technology upgradation.”

The government has also recommended the extension of Minimum Import Price (MSP) on 66 steel products for two months.

The industry, meanwhile, raised several concerns, inverted duty structure and freight charges in particular, and urged the government to address these issues.

India is the world’s third largest steel producer and is slowly moving towards becoming the second largest.

Steel consumption in the domestic market, however, continues to be an area of concern. To avoid over capacity condition, the government envisages to enhance consumption of the metal through increasing spending on infrastructure. “Whether it be steel bridges, steel buildings, steel or its related products in making roads in rural areas, railways, shipping, steel can be used productively.”

The Dollar Business Bureau - Aug 10, 2016 12:00 IST